|VOICE OF AMERICA|
SLUG: 2-322698 Egypt / Arab League
TITLE= EGYPT / ARAB LEAGUE (L-O)
HEADLINE: Arab League Foreign Ministers Meet in Cairo
INTRO: The foreign ministers of the Arab League are meeting in Cairo, in
preparation for an Arab summit to be held, later this month, in Algiers. It will be
the first such meeting of the 22-member organization since the Palestinian
and Iraqi elections and the resignation of the pro-Syrian government in Lebanon.
VOA's Greg LaMotte has the details from the Egyptian capital.
TEXT: Although the issue of a Syrian troop withdrawal from Lebanon is not officially
on the agenda for Arab League foreign ministers, it is expected to dominate the
International pressure has been mounting on Damascus to withdraw its estimated
14-thousand troops from neighboring Lebanon. Monday, pro-Syrian Lebanese Prime
Minister Omar Karamai resigned, amid massive demonstrations calling for an end to
Syrian influence in Lebanon.
However, upon arriving in Cairo for the meeting of Arab foreign ministers,
Lebanese diplomat Bassam Numani stressed that Beirut wants to maintain good
relations with Syria. He says he continues to support an older agreement between
Syria and Lebanon that calls for a phased partial withdrawal of troops, with no
Among the items on the agenda for the foreign ministers are
Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts. Palestinian leader Mahmud
Abbas met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi foreign minister Saud
al-Faisal, Thursday, in the Egyptian resort Sharm el-Sheikh.
Also on the agenda for the meeting in Cairo is the post-electoral transition
period in Iraq.
The foreign ministers meeting is aimed at preparing for a two-day Arab summit to
be held in Algiers beginning March 22nd, in which most, if not all, of the
agreements reached in Cairo will be ratified by Arab League members. (Signed)
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